Benefits of Veterinarians Performing In-house Cytology

October 12, 2016
American Veterinarian Editorial Staff

Anne Barger, DVM, MS, DACVP, clinical professor in pathobiology at University of Illinois, explains the benefits of veterinarians performing in-house cytology.

Anne Barger, DVM, MS, DACVP, clinical professor in pathobiology at University of Illinois, explains the benefits of veterinarians performing in-house cytology.

Interview Transcript (slightly modified for readability)

“You have an animal come into your practice, you identify a mass or enlarged lymph node that you want to sample, you aspirate the mass, you send off the cytology to a lab and it comes back not diagnostic, and you’ve had to charge the owner money, put the pet through a procedure and you have nothing to show for it. To me, the biggest advantage of doing in-house cytology is [that] you’ve got the patient right there, you stain the slide, you make sure [that] you have a diagnostic sample. [That way], even if you’re not comfortable with what you’re looking at or you know what the diagnosis is, [at least you can say, 'you know I’ve got intact cells there, I can send this off and have somebody look at it.' That’s going to benefit the client, it’s going to benefit the pet, it’s going to save the owner some money, [and] it’s going to save you, as a practitioner, some frustration. To me, that’s the biggest perk [of] doing in-house cytology.

Another lesser thing that I would think of is, if you do a lot, you feel really comfortable and you can interpret your own, which, I think, takes a lot of years of practice, but if you can do that, and you can make a simple diagnosis [of a] bacterial infection or [a] fungal infection, or [if] you think it’s a tumor, you’ve got your next step of either diagnostics or treatment immediately, which is kind of nice. If you think [that] it’s a tumor, well, maybe [a] biopsy is your next step or consultation with an oncologist, so you know what’s going to happen next or what your plan is, so you can prepare the owner and move forward immediately.”